When it comes to home security, Bruce Dedic is set on one thing.
“If it’s not a deadbolt, it’s not locked. It’s latched and it’s ridiculously easy to get past,” said Dedic, who works at Harvey’s Lock and Security in Rapid City and has been in the home security business for 30 years.
According to the 2012 FBI crime report, one in every 36 homes in the United States is expected to be burglarized this year, resulting in an average loss of $2,200 per home. Nationwide, more than $4 billion is expected in property losses through burglaries.
Local home security specialists say the options for home security has diversified in recent years with the continued arc of smartphone and electronic technology.
“Right now the world is enamored with electronic security,” Dedic said. “When it’s done on the cheap, it’s not effective. It’s like any industry, you get what you pay for.”
Chris Ladenburger, owner of Door Security Products in Rapid City, said he has also seen a trend toward home automation systems, including systems that tie into a smartphone or tablet.
“Security is going from basic security to motion detectors now being able to take pictures or video and send it to your cellphone,” he said. “Our customers are asking for it.”
Multiple home operations, including closing a garage door, changing the thermostat, unlocking a door, and closing blinds can be tied into a home security system, Ladenburger said, and it’s most popular with the younger generation and retirees.
“The younger generation is driving that demand; they like to have control over everything,” he said. “And with retirees, it’s nice because they can be away traveling, and still let someone in.”
But not everyone is sold on the idea of a high-tech system, Ladenburger said, and there are a few simple things homeowners can do to reduce their risk of a break-in without the help of a smartphone or video camera.
“I would consider outdoor motion lighting,” Ladenburger said. “And if you have a window covered by a bush or a fence, think that (burglars) are going to try and find the easiest way to stay unseen.”
“The first line of defense is looking at your landscaping,” he said. “Where are your trees and shrubs in relation to windows? The more private you make it for yourself, the more private you make it for a thief to access your home.”
He also echoed Ladenburger’s advice on a motion sensor.
“If someone is standing on your doorstep, is it noticeable?” he asked.
The third step would be to check all locks and doors to make sure they are strong enough. Investing in deadbolts in a must, Dedic said.
A door knob or a level handle that employs a latch is only held shut by 3/8 of an inch of metal. A deadbolt, on the other hand, is 1-inch long and half an inch in diameter.
“It’s got some meat, some mass,” he said. A simple latch lock is designed to hold a door shut, but not a person, he said. Someone can easily get inside with a credit card or pocketknife and not leave any signs of a break-in.
“Deadbolts are a must,” he said.
The fourth layer to consider would be the type of electronic alarm system Ladenburger talked about.
“If you have those four layers covered, you’re not an easy target,” he said. “We don’t see many professional break-ins, most of them are soft targets. Unfortunately, some of them are just people walking right in.”
The final thing to remember, Dedic said, is to make a wise investment when it comes to hardware.
“When you spend $20 on a deadbolt, don’t expect much,” he said. A $200 deadbolt will provide very good security, but a quality, standard deadbolt usually costs about $50.
“A big part of what we push is not the latest and greatest,” he said. “The bottom line is the value.”